Tackling climate change and global food security has never been more urgent and challenging. Like solving many other social problems, it involves shifting mindsets and changing action on a large scale. For years, social issues have been tackled by traditional funnel approach as shown below.
The traditional funnel approach is based on an ideal situation, in which everyone is rational, disciplined, thinks independently, considers the big picture and plans for long-term. It emphasizes a mindset shift before action change. Professionals and think tanks spend years and millions of funding identifying the problem and proposing solutions. Next, the key findings will be announced and spread by the media, government and authorities to raise the awareness among the public. Ideally, many people will be goaded into taking action and social change will be induced. However, in the real world, knowing does not automatically mean changing. Very few people change their behavior due to research findings. Given the urgency and global scale of current social issues, this approach is simply ineffective. In addition, business sectors that are contributing to these issues are not considered as stakeholders and not held accountable in this model.
For example, 97% scientists agree that climate change is real and the most threatening issue. Leading figures from across the spectrum of politics, religion and pop culture, such as Barack Obama, Pope Francis, James Cameron and Leonardo DiCaprio, openly urge all sectors to deal with the crisis in concerted efforts. Despite the warnings from these leaders, according to a Gallup poll, only 35% of the public are concerned about climate change and its potential hazards. In spite of this concern, it is even more disappointing that only 18% of the public express that they may take action to mitigate climate change.
In order to bridge the awareness-action chasm, a simple and effective platform is called for and Green Monday strives to create just that. Green Monday, founded by David Yeung and Francis Ngai, two vegetarian entrepreneurs, has become the global change maker for sustainable common good. Its approach is simple and holistic: to promote plant-based eating throughout the entire food ecosystem. It encourages the public to practice plant-based diet one day per week. It also influences food service providers, manages the product supply chain, partners with Food 2.0 technologists and creates a “green lifestyle” experience to offer plant-based options to the masses, while coupling those offerings with quantifiable analysis of impact.
This approach breaks all cultural, language and gender barriers. Through liaising with restaurants, corporations, supermarkets and dining service providers to offer alternative green options to their customers and employees, the power of “baby steps” is unleashed. In Hong Kong, 1.6 million people, which accounts for 23% of the population, have become flexitarians with an active behavior change to reduce meat consumption. This practice not only saves 375 billion liters of water annually, but also prevents 900,000 tons of carbon emissions. This collective shift also saves 300 million animal lives per year.
“Green Monday approach” is an innovative methodology to engage everyone to take part in solving the issue. This approach puts action change before or parallel to mindset shifts. Through this platform, the network of existing stakeholders is leveraged to influence millions and create shifting impact. As Yeung points out, “Green Monday strives to be the Swiss army knife of the sustainability movement and solutions. What distinguishes Green Monday from other similar movements is its pioneering dual-engine to catalyze sustained social change, focusing on building the momentum of the movement and initiating the trend of eating green.” With the rapid growth of Green Monday, there is no denying that the movement is simple, viral and actionable – the three qualities emphasized by Green Monday’s co-founders since day one.